Magazine

Roscoe Filburn and the Commerce Clause


Filburn lost his case opposing quotas. The decision influenced:

1964: Civil Rights Act

Congress relied on the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Commerce Clause in Wickard v. Filburn in passing the landmark anti-bias law, reasoning that motels serve interstate travelers.

1972: Clean Water Act

Congress used its expanded commerce powers under Filburn when it passed the environmental law barring the release of toxins in rivers and streams.

1995: Gun Possession

The court struck down a federal law restricting gun possession near schools, saying Filburn doesn't apply unless commercial activity is involved.

2005: Marijuana Possession

The high court relied on Filburn when it allowed prosecution of marijuana growers under federal drug laws, even though the drug was not sold across state lines.

2010: Health Reform

Filburn could be pivotal in determining whether the insurance mandate in President Obama's health reform law is constitutional.


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